For a seaside resort where nothing is officially happening, the town of Beidaihe in northern China has a lot of security. There is an armed police checkpoint on the outskirts. We’re stopped again for another passport check further on. Uniformed officers are stationed at regular intervals along the roads, their plainclothes colleagues, identifiable by plastic earpieces, standing nearby. By the beach, among tourists carrying rubber rings, we saw armed paramilitary police.
Image: Communist Party villas near public beaches
No one will confirm it, but they are here to protect China’s Communist Party leadership, thought to be holding its annual secretive summit at the resort. Mao Zedong started the tradition in the 1950s, with the party elite decamping to the coast to escape the stifling Beijing summer heat, to decide the country’s future in private. For all the appearance of modernisation in China, in 2017, this is still how power is exercised in the “People’s Republic” – behind high walls and carefully guarded gates. There is no mention of the meeting in state media. The only indication it has started is the sudden absence of senior officials from evening news bulletins, and the simultaneous appearance of heavy security on the streets of Beidaihe. On one side of a long fence is the crowded public beach – on the other, the manicured, private sands of the Communist Party villas.
Image: Black cars sweep through at speed
At intervals, black cars sweep through at speed, as ordinary traffic is halted to let them pass. But then we were ordered to stop filming . When I asked why, I was told: “Because we are police.” More plainclothes security agents followed us along the street, before stopping and questioning us about what we were doing there, and taking our names and passport details.
Image: Sky’s Katie Stallard was stopped by officers
This is a crucial year for General Secretary Xi Jinping, who appears to be consolidating his personal control ahead of an important party congress this autumn, which will determine the country’s leadership for the next five years. He may also signal whether he plans to step down in line with the recent convention of serving two terms, which would end in 2022, or intends to stay in power. At a military parade1 to mark the 90th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Liberation Army recently, President Xi appeared, unusually, as the only civilian on the podium, and reviewed the troops in combat fatigues.
Image: China’s President Xi Jinping
“Xi was wearing his commander-in-chief hat both literally and figuratively,” Andrew Polk, co-founder of Trivium China explained. “This is a very clear signal that Xi is in charge of the army, which is part and parcel of being a powerful leader.
“The message is: I’m in charge of domestic politics, I’m in charge of the military apparatus, the nation is strong, and I am the leader of that strong nation.” Back in Beidaihe, we found more clues to who was in town on a roundabout, where red characters spelled out: “The Party is in my heart, welcome the 19th Congress.” There were more warm words for the Party’s leadership on the beach.
Image: One of the packed public beaches in Beidaihe
“I think it’s quite normal that the government take some measures and they have the right to do this their own way . They do that for our country’s safety and people’s happiness,” one man assured us. Soaking up the sun nearby, another man told us: “China has thousands of years of history . It needs time to develop, but I think China is getting better and better.”
If Xi Jinping could have heard him on his side of the fence, he would have approved.
On 11 August 2017, at Bristol Magistrates Court, we prosecuted Zakir Mohammed Zillul for attempting to claim 1673 in compensation for alleged lost travel documents. In August 2016, Zillul submitted an application to the SIA for a Door Supervision Licence. In support of this application, and to verify his identity, he sent his passport to us. On Friday 16 September 2016, Zillul contacted us say that he was due to travel abroad on 21 September and needed his passport to be returned as soon as possible. We returned Zillul s passport via Royal Mail Special Delivery on 20 September to arrive by 1 pm the next day.
However, due to a delay by Royal Mail, the passport was not delivered on 21 September. Zillul claimed that as a result of the late return of his passport he could not travel as he had arranged. On 26 September 2016, Zillul contacted us to make a claim for 1673, which was the cost of his apparent flights. We agreed to consider a compensation or reimbursement claim if Zillul could produce evidence of the missed flights, including proof of payment. This would be reviewed alongside the circumstances of the return of Zillul s passport.
In October 2016, following a successful application, Zillul was issued with a Door Supervisor licence. Zillul emailed us in October 2016 with evidence of the cost of the travel, and a document purporting to be an itinerary/invoice from a travel agent showing the alleged cost of the flights. In addition, he provided evidence to us, showing cash withdrawals from his bank account which he claimed were made to pay for the holiday. We believed that the documentation provided was false, so an investigation was carried out by their Criminal Investigation Team. They discovered that Zillul had not made any such travel booking.
Instead he had asked a travel agent to produce an invoice and itinerary. He used the excuse that he needed to make a claim from his travel insurance company, but had lost the relevant paperwork. When interviewed, Zillul said that a cousin was responsible for making the claim for compensation in his name. He claimed that this cousin had access and online control of Zillul s bank account and email, and implied that his cousin was corresponding to us in his name. Zillul added that his cousin was involved in a relationship with the travel agent who had provided the alleged invoice.
The travel agent denied this, and stated that she did not know the person named as Zillul s cousin. She did, however, admit to knowing Zillul, and to falsely producing an invoice itinerary for what she thought was a claim against Zillul s travel insurance. The travel agent confirmed that no actual travel booking was made by Zillul. Despite numerous attempts made by our investigators to identify Zillul s cousin, he was not traced, nor did he make himself available for interview. Zillul pleaded guilty to attempted fraud by false representation, and to having in his possession an article for use in fraud (the email purporting to be from the travel agent to support his claim for compensation).
The Court sentenced Zillul to 210 hours of unpaid community service, to be completed within a 12 months. Zillul was also ordered to pay 2046.30 prosecution costs and an 85 victim surcharge. Nathan Salmon, SIA Criminal Investigation Manager, said;
Zillul fraudulently tried to obtain compensation of 1673.00 from the SIA, when he clearly had no right to do so, He devised an elaborate plan involving the production and presentation of false documentary evidence to support his claim, using the misguided assistance of another person to facilitate the crime. The SIA robustly regulates the security industry and will seek to prosecute those individuals who choose to commit criminal offences – either in their individual licence application, or when they are working as a licensed security operative .
- *The details of the role that Limited Risk played in relation to Quinton were pursued by the Insolvency Service.
- The Security Industry Authority is the organisation responsible for regulating the private security industry in the United Kingdom, reporting to the Home Secretary under the terms of the Private Security Industry Act 2001. The SIA’s main duties are: the compulsory licensing of individuals undertaking designated activities; and managing the voluntary Approved Contractor Scheme.
- For further information about the Security Industry Authority or to sign up for email updates visit www.sia.homeoffice.gov.uk.
A man who became involved in a struggle with two security guards at a Shepton Mallet 1festival after being found without a wristband pass ended up assaulting them both. Ceri Williams was seen by the two members of staff at the NASS festival at the Bath and West Showground trying to enter one of the gates without wearing a security wristband. He had been drinking and taking cocaine, LDS, ecstasy and cannabis and then became abusive and ran away but was chased and taken to the ground.
While lashing about, the defendant then struck one of the security officers on the head and spat at another one, Somerset Magistrates were told.
Williams, 29, of Glynderi, Glanaman, Camarthenshire, pleaded guilty to assaulting Malcolm Dingle and Oliver Dann by beating them on July 8 when he appeared before the court at Yeovil. Prosecutor Julyan Stephens said that the two victims were working as security guards at the National Action Sports Show at the Bath and West Showground and attendees needed to wear a wristband to gain entry.
Williams was seen trying to get into Gate 6 without wearing a wristband and accepted he was intoxicated and then became aggressive asking them what they were doing, he said.
He then ran away and the guards pursued him and took him to the ground with some force but he continued to struggle.
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He was told to calm down but was upset and whilst flailing his arms he connected with the temple of Mr Dann causing him to fall to the floor.
The defendant continued to struggle and other security staff arrived and some spittle landed on Mr Dingle s hand. When Williams was interviewed by police he said he went to the festival and paid 187 to get in and had been given a wristband but could not remember what happened to it.
He said he had taken some cannabis, ecstasy, LSD, cocaine and alcohol and only remembered being held on the floor and he was struggling to try and get them off of him as he couldn t breathe. Defending solicitor Sue Cameron said that Williams said that after being taken to the ground Williams was being restrained face down and in pain when he recklessly assaulted the two men.
He recklessly spat at one of them as he was shaking his head and spit just happened to land on his hand, she said.
He did not deliberately punch the other guard but was flailing his arms around and accepts he may have connected with his head.
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She said that the defendant only used drugs recreationally at places such as festivals, and drugs and alcohol were freely available at this event despite security being in place to prevent it.
There is no dispute that he had taken drugs and alcohol and no doubt that this had an impact on the way he behaved, however he says he did purchase a wristband and did not know how it came off, she said.
However he does concede that because he was not wearing a wristband, that is why the incident occurred. She said Williams was remorseful and wanted to apologise for taking up the time of the police, he courts and the security staff.
The magistrates fined the defendant 80 for each offence of assault and ordered him to pay 50 compensation to both of them .
Costs of 85 and a 30 victim surcharge were also imposed.